The prospect of turning 27 has always been quite scary for me. It’s not the dreaded 30, but 27 may be even more intimidating. At 27, you’re officially in your late twenties, an age where you are expected to make responsible decisions. An age where you’re supposed to have figured out your career path and life goals. If you do something stupid, no one will shrug it off as “oh she’s just young” anymore. In the workplace, you’ve had enough years of experience that bosses won’t accept your screw-ups as easily. All these add up to scary, scary, and scary.
Today I’m 27. And I don’t feel more mature or more knowledgeable. I don’t even have a clear direction anymore. Rather, I stand at crossroads… one way leading to a lucrative career and the other leading into a deep black bottomless vat of uncertainty yet boundless adventure.
I have spent the better part of this year internally struggling between moving up the career ladder, or pursuing the ideals of love and travel.
I’m 27 and people expect me to make the correct choice. My parents expect me to have a secure life with benefits. My bosses have a 20-year career plan for me. Everyone expects me to be an independent adult, but only within the confines of what they feel is best. And while I understand this is an age where I should be more established in my career, having gained enough experience to really pursue more leadership roles, my heart urges me to walk down the other road and forge my own path.
Looking back, I have spent the first 26 years of my life without any real dreams except to make good money in a respectable job, simply because that is what society tells me is the grown-up thing to do. As a result, I graduated with a degree and entered a career that wasn’t my passion. But I no longer want fear and guilt to be reasons for living a mediocre, flat life. Staying in an uninspiring job for the sake of security and benefits seems like settling. Something needs to change.
This is the year I found a new dream.
It’s been a long, tumultuous year of convincing myself that it’s a worthwhile dream to pursue. And just mere days before the dawn of my 27th birthday, I found the guts to make the first move. (Have I recently mentioned that I just bought plane tickets to Europe for an 80-day tour for summer 2014?!)
I’m finally learning to live for myself, rather than live a life dictated by others’ expectations. I still need to work on not letting my fears hold me back, but it’s getting there.
Above all, I am so very looking forward to a brighter future. I suspect that this next year will see me closing a chapter of my life and opening a new one. One with unwritten pages to be penned only by me. One where I get to choose the setting and plot. And one where each turn of the page will reveal a girl with full zest for life.
You can say that the late-twenties is an age of realization and self-discovery. I guess in that way, turning 27 is not such a bad thing after all.